Friday, 15 June 2012

Week one nearly over, 15 June 2012

L-R SPREP's Sefanaia Nawadra, Ms. Brianna Fruean, Ms. Kathleen Leewai in front of the SIDS exhibition

From Fiji to Papua New Guinea to Samoa then on to Rio! Ms. Kathleen Leewai, the Publications and Communications Intern at SPREP is attending her first international environment conference - the Rio+20, this has been made possible with support from PACMAS, SPREP and Conservation International Pacific Island Program. Born and raised in Fiji, Kathleen has lived in Papua New Guinea, Australia and now in Samoa at SPREP where she works as the Publications and Communications Intern. This is Kathleens first time outside of the Pacfic region, read about her experiences!

"Day 5 in Rio is now my second day inside the main conference venue. The sheer size of the conference and the issues being discussed is quite overwhelming, but it means that I get to learn a lot.

The conference venues are packed with people from all over the world and it’s very rare to see other Pacific Islanders because there are so few of us compared to some of the larger country delegations.

However, it’s always nice to see a friendly island smile from across the room as we all seem to have a knack for finding each other in a crowd. I suppose wearing bright floral prints helps! We’re a beacon of fresh colour in rooms full of blues, blacks, and grays.

I haven’t managed to conquer the language barrier yet, and it continues to be a massive undertaking trying to communicate with people. Nonetheless, I’ve make do with the few words of Portuguese I’ve picked up and may perhaps try to learn the language fully once I get back to Samoa.

There is one major event that I’m really looking forward to this week, and that is The Oceans Day at Rio+20, which will be held tomorrow. It is a whole day event that will be run at the Rio Conventions Pavilion in Athletes Park and it celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Global Ocean Forum.

Having oceans issues on the agenda at Rio+20 is vital to the Pacific because of the importance of oceans to, not only our economies, but our very livelihoods.

One of the other great learning experiences this week has been working alongside two seasoned reporters who are part of the Pacific media team here in Rio. Watching how they work and listening to the way they conduct their interviews has given me better insight on how to develop as a writer in the context of Pacific environment issues.

It’s been an action packed week and, as we head into the weekend, the week ahead looks to be even more of an experience than the last."

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